Conservation of crop germplasm diversity involves the establishment of in situ and ex situ genebanks. The major activities for ex situ genebanks include assembling, conserving, characterizing and providing easy access to germplasm for scientists. More than six million accessions are currently assembled in over 1300 genebanks worldwide. ICRISAT is one of the 15 CGIAR centres, with headquarters at Patancheru, India, and conserves genetic resources of sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, and six small millets. The ICRISAT genebank holds 114,870 accessions from 130 countries, including both archival materials from various organizations throughout the world, and from fresh collections resulting from 213 missions in 62 countries. The ICRISAT genebank supplies annually over 40,000 germplasm samples to scientists worldwide. Sixty-six varieties selected from the basic germplasm have been released for cultivation in 44 countries, and ICRISAT has restored/repatriated crop germplasm to eight countries. The research focus is on germplasm diversity assessment, developing core and mini-core collections, and using a molecular characterization approach to both enhance the utilization of germplasm in research and improve the efficiency of germplasm management. Following these approaches, we have been able to identify a significant number of accessions with traits potentially relevant for crop improvement.